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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 17447
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Pre-rental terms proposal. Washington state. I made an

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Pre-rental terms proposal. Washington state. On March 31 I made an verbal agreement with someone to trade rent or portion the rent in exchange of labor. The terms was for him to finish a list of repairs before he could move in with his girl-friend. The lease was to be for 6 months. He was to be the only one on the lease. I agreed that the next month rent with last month and deposit were also to be traded for one full month of work, starting May 1st. He agreed. I may have more work for him on another project afterwards so I am not too concerned about him paying rent. We shook hands. The house is habitable, and mostly cosmetics work is needed. In our initial agreement they were supposed to move in by the 8th of this month, but it didn't happen. There were many instances when he didn't show up to do the work when he said he would. Then twice he broke off our mutual agreement for diverse reasons, deciding not to rent. He said they both wanted to really rent my home but his girl-friend was concerned about finances and meeting the rent. Each time he broke off his agreement he asked me to pay him for his work. I agreed, although I was losing rental income and it was not what our initial agreement was about. He was doing good work so I was trying to be somewhat flexible, but the only problem I have was that he was very unreliable in terms of schedule. I tried to be understanding as I knew he was going through a lot in his life, and I felt he was an honest person. Then one day he asked me once again if he could rent again. This time he had money and was willing to put some down. That same day on the 20th of this month I gave him a written proposition with rental terms, stating clearly what would my rental terms be. I made him signed so that I was sure he understood what the agreement was. Because of his change of mind in the past, one of my terms was that the lease would start the next day on the 21st, and although he would start being charged for rent, they couldn't move in until all the work in the house was finished (to protect myself). He agreed. The completion of the house was to take him about two days and then we would sign the lease. I was asking him for a rental application fee of $250 to be paid at the same time he signed the proposal, but he decided to pay me what I would have asked him at time of move-in to show that he was serious. Instead of finishing the house within the next two days as agreed, he went working on another project, therefore was not able to complete my house (girl-friend said he can't say no...). Then in the next few days, he would show up sporadically at my rental, but not enough to complete the project. As of today the house is almost finished, but not quite. The girl-friend has turned all the utilities on the 21st. I provide access to the water. Right now the water is turned off so there is no water in the rental. Part of the trade was for him to install a water meter in the well before I turn the water on. This was to be done last as I wanted to make sure they wouldn't move-in before the house is finished. They are now staying in a hotel and because of cost, the girl-friend is now complaining that they should be able to move in because of the money they paid to me and the lease that has started on the 21st, and that I can't hold off water from them. I told her that per agreement with her boy-friend, once the house will be completed, there will be a check-in for condition of the house, they will sign their rental lease, and then can move in. I would like to know if the agreement I entered with my potential tenant is legal relative to tenant/landlord law. He has not yet signed a rental agreement, just a proposition of rental terms, and had put money down. I told him that I would have the rental lease ready as soon as the house is complete. They still have to give me the rental application form filled and signed which I have asked them for the last 2 weeks. I am a bit concerned about the girl-friend as I am concerned she might cause some troubles about this agreement and rental situation, and rub on him as well. I also would like to know that despite him signing the rental terms proposal and putting some money down, if I can back out, just in case this is becoming too much of a problem. Thanks for any feedback you could give me.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This is PhillipsEsq. I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
Pre-rental terms proposal. Washington state. On March 31 I made an verbal agreement with someone to trade rent or portion the rent in exchange of labor. The terms was for him to finish a list of repairs before he could move in with his girl-friend. The lease was to be for 6 months. He was to be the only one on the lease. I agreed that the next month rent with last month and deposit were also to be traded for one full month of work, starting May 1st. He agreed. I may have more work for him on another project afterwards so I am not too concerned about him paying rent. We shook hands. The house is habitable, and mostly cosmetics work is needed. In our initial agreement they were supposed to move in by the 8th of this month, but it didn't happen. There were many instances when he didn't show up to do the work when he said he would. Then twice he broke off our mutual agreement for diverse reasons, deciding not to rent. He said they both wanted to really rent my home but his girl-friend was concerned about finances and meeting the rent. Each time he broke off his agreement he asked me to pay him for his work. I agreed, although I was losing rental income and it was not what our initial agreement was about. He was doing good work so I was trying to be somewhat flexible, but the only problem I have was that he was very unreliable in terms of schedule. I tried to be understanding as I knew he was going through a lot in his life, and I felt he was an honest person. Then one day he asked me once again if he could rent again. This time he had money and was willing to put some down. That same day on the 20th of this month I gave him a written proposition with rental terms, stating clearly what would my rental terms be. I made him signed so that I was sure he understood what the agreement was. Because of his change of mind in the past, one of my terms was that the lease would start the next day on the 21st, and although he would start being charged for rent, they couldn't move in until all the work in the house was finished (to protect myself). He agreed. The completion of the house was to take him about two days and then we would sign the lease. I was asking him for a rental application fee of $250 to be paid at the same time he signed the proposal, but he decided to pay me what I would have asked him at time of move-in to show that he was serious. Instead of finishing the house within the next two days as agreed, he went working on another project, therefore was not able to complete my house (girl-friend said he can't say no...). Then in the next few days, he would show up sporadically at my rental, but not enough to complete the project. As of today the house is almost finished, but not quite. The girl-friend has turned all the utilities on the 21st. I provide access to the water. Right now the water is turned off so there is no water in the rental. Part of the trade was for him to install a water meter in the well before I turn the water on. This was to be done last as I wanted to make sure they wouldn't move-in before the house is finished. They are now staying in a hotel and because of cost, the girl-friend is now complaining that they should be able to move in because of the money they paid to me and the lease that has started on the 21st, and that I can't hold off water from them. I told her that per agreement with her boy-friend, once the house will be completed, there will be a check-in for condition of the house, they will sign their rental lease, and then can move in. I would like to know if the agreement I entered with my potential tenant is legal relative to tenant/landlord law.
Response 1: No, it is not. You cannot charge them rent and then refuse to allow them to move in. You cannot have the agreement start on 21st and then refuse them access to the premises. Your arrangement thus far is illegal. They must be allowed immediate access to the premises. Otherwise, they can take you to Court and force you to pay for their hotel expenses.
He has not yet signed a rental agreement, just a proposition of rental terms, and had put money down. I told him that I would have the rental lease ready as soon as the house is complete. They still have to give me the rental application form filled and signed which I have asked them for the last 2 weeks. I am a bit concerned about the girl-friend as I am concerned she might cause some troubles about this agreement and rental situation, and rub on him as well. I also would like to know that despite him signing the rental terms proposal and putting some money down, if I can back out, just in case this is becoming too much of a problem. Thanks for any feedback you could give me.
Response 2: You can back out and refund ALL the money paid if they agree. If they do not agree, you cannot back out without going to Court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The proposal was just about the terms they would have to abide when the final rental lease was signed. I have no problem refunding them the money. I don't even have to charge them from the 21st since the rental agreement has not even be written. This was just a proposal, not a final agreement on my part or their part. Could they back out as well since they don't have a final lease? How could a proposal be the same as a final rental agreement?

I don't see it going that far but, you said they could take me to court even if they haven't fulfilled their end of the bargain, meaning even if they have not finished the house when agreed upon and I am losing rent, and this based on a rental terms proposal? On another note, could I take them to court for not finishing their end of the bargain?

Last I am thinking about doing a month-to-month rental instead of a 6-month lease since I am not sure whether they will meet their end of the deal via trade. Please advise if I may do this. Thanks

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The proposal was just about the terms they would have to abide when the final rental lease was signed. I have no problem refunding them the money. I don't even have to charge them from the 21st since the rental agreement has not even be written. This was just a proposal, not a final agreement on my part or their part. Could they back out as well since they don't have a final lease?
Response 1: Yes, they can.
How could a proposal be the same as a final rental agreement?
Response 2: I provided my answer based on the information that you provided. You took a deposit with 21st as the starting date of the rental agreement. You cannot put the date as 21st and take money for the rent, but refuse to allow them access to the premises. Also and more importantly, a signed proposal is an enforceable contract.
I don't see it going that far but, you said they could take me to court even if they haven't fulfilled their end of the bargain, meaning even if they have not finished the house when agreed upon and I am losing rent, and this based on a rental terms proposal? On another note, could I take them to court for not finishing their end of the bargain?
Response 3: Just because a final agreement has not been signed does not mean that the terms of the proposal cannot be enforced when money has changed hands. Either party can take each other to Court for failure to comply with the agreement. A signed proposal is an enforceable contract.
Last I am thinking about doing a month-to-month rental instead of a 6-month lease since I am not sure whether they will meet their end of the deal via trade. Please advise if I may do this. Thanks
Response 4: I cannot give you advice because the terms of service prohibit me from giving legal advice on this site.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your feedback.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are quite Welcome!
Kindly give a positive rating to one of my answers so that I can receive credit for responding to your posts. This is the only way that I get paid for answering questions on this site. Otherwise, the site Administrator will keep 100% of your deposit.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

In Response 2 you said: You can back out and refund ALL the money paid if they agree. If they do not agree, you cannot back out without going to Court.

You also said that they can back out as well. My question is, would they have to take me to court as well to back out?

Since they have not completed the install work by a certain time as agreed upon per signed contract (which was supposed to be by April 8th, time we agreed the move in would take place), I lost one month of rent and maybe more because of their negligence, delay, and might have to hire somebody to finish the job properly. So what would their responsibility be for not completing in time the work they were supposed to do, and therefore not honoring their end of the deal?

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